January 24, 2015 is National Peanut Butter Day.
Peanut butter is a staple in over 90% of American households and the average person consumes more than six pounds of peanut products each year. Women and children prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men go for the chunky variety.
George Bayle, a St. Louis snack food maker, started making peanut butter in the 1890s. For many years, manufacturers struggled with the oil separating from the grainy solids of the peaut butter. In 1923 Heinz became the first company to homogenize the peanuts into the spreadable butter we know and love today. Before long peanut butter was a classic American food.
Did you know that it takes 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Peanuts are cholesterol free and an excellent source of protein. In fact, it’s the high protein content that causes peanut butter to stick to the roof of your mouth.
To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, bake some peanut butter cookies, spread some tasty peanut butter on toast, or enjoy a spoonful right out of the jar!
From the National Peanut Board
Cottage Cookie Recipe
Celebrate National Peanut Butter Day with these cookies.
1 cup all- purpose flour (sifted)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup quick oats (grind in blender or food processor to chop finer)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl, cream together butter 3/4 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and oatmeal. Add to creamed mixture.
Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown. After removing cookies from the oven, press flat with a spatula, place cookie on wire rack to cool.
To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Add cream a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth but not runny. You may not need all of the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.
1/2 tsp nutmeg * (Feel free to use a full teaspoon of nutmeg if you are a fan of the spice)
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup molasses *
1/2 tsp baking soda
* It is recommended using regular unsulfured molasses rather than blackstrap molasses for this recipe. Since the molasses is the only sweetener for the filling, blackstrap would make for a pretty bitter filling. If all you have on hand is blackstrap, though, you could replace a couple of spoonfuls of molasses with a couple spoonfuls of pure maple syrup for a molasses flavor that’s not quite as overwhelming.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare your pie pastry. If you’re using my favorite pastry recipe (above), mix the salt in with the flour, and then cut the lard (or lard/butter combo) into the flour with a pastry blender. Then add the cold water and mix until a soft dough forms. Roll the pastry out and line a 9″ pie plate with it.
For the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Then cut the butter into small pieces, and use a pastry blender to combine the butter with the dry ingredients until the mixture forms into delectable buttery crumbs.
For the filling, heat up your water in a sauce pan until it is warm (but not boiling.) Then take the water off the heat and stir in the molasses until fully blended. Next, add in your baking soda and stir well to combine. The mixture will look frothier as the soda reacts with the acid in the molasses.
Pour the molasses mixture into your pie pastry shell, and then sprinkle the crumb topping all around, adding a little extra to the sides. (Since the filling tends to slosh around a bit and absorb the crumb filling when you pick up the pie to put it into the oven, it might be a good idea to save aside a handful of the crumb topping mixture and sprinkle it around the pie after it has been in the oven for a few minutes to make sure you have an even distribution of topping.)
Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 minutes or so until a knife inserted into the center will come out clean.
NOTE: It’s best to prepare the pie pastry and the crumb topping before you mix up the molasses filling. Since the reaction between the baking soda and the molasses is the only thing making the filling rise up, if you let it sit out on the counter while you take the time to roll out a pie crust and mix up the topping, you might end up with a flatter pie.
“This pie is quite similar to the ones I had in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but I can definitely see and taste a difference in the filling of the pie. The filling of the ones I had at the smorgasbords were quite a bit lighter in color and much, much sweeter than my own homemade filling. I’m guessing that there might have been something else besides just molasses in those smorgasbord pies.
This pie is absolutely delicious, and I love the combination of pie crust and the cake-like crumb topping. If you love pie and you love coffee cake, this pie truly is the best of both worlds!”